Through a glass darkly

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12)KJV

Friday, July 20, 2007

22 Reasons Why You Should Not Get Married (Or At Least Delay Doing So), Part 3

Here's the third installment of my advice:

11. You are much younger/older than your intended. Age gaps of ten or more years between partners are sources of additional relationship stress that need to be considered –is he/she searching for a parental figure? Does he/she prefer sweet young things because he/she is too immature (or shallow, only focused on physical appearance) to relate with people their own age? A difference of more than ten years often means that the two lovebirds were born and raised in two different generations with all that it entails culturally and experientially. I have know quite a few couples where this was the case (in truth, my own parents were 25 and 34 when they got married and they were from different generations, for example). Can you imagine sitting around with your friends talking about your favorite “Back to the Future” movie when your beloved comes in and refers to Michael J. Fox as that “old guy with Parkinson’s”? This generation gap is particularly true when one partner in the relationship is very young (i.e. in their teens) or very old (Howard Marshall and Anna Nicole Smith, for example). The teenager is still in adolescence and has the most significant amount of emotional/mental maturation still ahead or him/her. (Were you the same person at 25 that you were at 18 or 19? For the 30 year old marrying a 19 or 20 year old, which one of you is more likely to have outgrown the other?) What about those May/December romances? Well, it might seem cute for a while, perhaps even advantageous for reasons of money or lifestyle –what 25 year old can afford the perks that come with being in an established career or having an investment portfolio for twenty years? – will it remain fun years later when you are middle-aged and caring for your old geezer of a husband’s arthritis or urinary incontinence? Perhaps, you will get dumped when he trades you in for a “newer” model.

12. You are using marriage to rectify a mistake. I once had a guy try to con me into sex by saying that “it would be okay if we did it and then got married later.” No, it doesn’t work that way – compounding the sin of sex outside marriage with the stupidity of thinking that subsequent marriage to your fellow offender somehow negates that sin doesn’t make it better. Yet, I have heard some really dumb girls actually believe that had to marry a guy they did not love because they had fooled around with him. Even more dumb is to marry a guy just because you are pregnant (ever hear of adoption???). Having a shotgun wedding? People will never find out (wink, wink) that’s the reason you’re really getting married. Consider this, how do you think your children will react when the figure out why their parents got married? Do you think that they will have lots of confidence that you are married because you love one another or because you had an obligation to meet? What does that do to their sense of security? I knew a couple who got married because “they had to” –they hastily eloped to “make things right”. However, she later lost the baby and not long after, her jerk of a husband filed for divorce. It didn’t cover up anything and merely demonstrated what a cad he was in the beginning to pressure her into sex. A third really stupid scenario is the man/woman that has an affair that breaks up a marriage and then feels the need to marry their paramour to try to regain some sense of respectability. It’s not happening!

13. You (or your beloved) are recently coming out of a broken relationship. You broke-up with your boyfriend/girlfriend, got divorced, were widowed –you are on the rebound. “Recently” can mean months or years if you are still moping around about the loss. How can you tell? How often do they mention their former love’s name or compare you to them? Rebound relationships never last; when the hurting one has healed, they will move on to someone else and leave you hurting instead. Consider them “transitional relationships” only and be prepared to move on.

14. Your minor children object to you remarrying this person. This might seem extremely harsh but it’s not as strict as radio personality Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s advice that if you have a child, you don’t even date until they turn 18 whether the child objects to it or not. It is not fair to bring someone into a family as a step-whatever if it will ruin the lives of the children God has entrusted you to care for. I know we have this fantasy from the Brady Bunch television show that the kids will all get along with one another and will call the parents, “Mom” or “Dad”; the reality, based on statistics, is that children in blended families are more likely to have problems and be victims of abuse. You might say, “My children need a new mother or father, it’s not my fault my spouse died or left me.” That may be true, but remember what I said about using marriage to rectify a mistake or right a wrong –it tends to create more problems, than it solves.

15. One of you is severely broken. Remember what I said about “baggage” and expecting personality/behavior changes after the wedding? Try to get healing before pursuing the relationship any further. If you are an addict or an abusive person, get help right away. Do not get married until then if sexual, physical or child abuse has occurred. If you are mentally ill or emotionally disturbed, get that under control first. If you are sick with a life-threatening disease, get treatment for that. This isn’t Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal in “Love Story” for gosh sakes. Marriage isn’t going to make it all better. A knew a guy with only a few months to live that proposed marriage to one of his close female friends (they weren’t a couple at the time). His friend told him that she didn’t see the purpose of getting married just to say that you are married –it’s not like God stands at the pearly gates and asks if you were. He didn’t need her to take care of him either as he was nearly always hospitalized by then, but it was one of those things on his “to do list” before he died. Where was the commitment to her on his part that is necessary for marriage?

Hold on, still at least one more to come...

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